‘They need to be worth a second per lap’ - Mercedes upgrades questioned

Will Mercedes upgrades in Miami help turn around their underwhelming performances in F1 2024?

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World…

Mercedes’ upgrades at the next F1 race in Miami “need to be worth a second a lap” to bring them back into contention, it has been claimed.

It proved to be another challenging and disappointing weekend for Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix as George Russell finished sixth, three places ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton recovered to ninth after a disastrous qualifying in which he suffered a shock Q1 exit and could only take 18th. The seven-time world champion had made a positive start to the weekend by finishing second to Max Verstappen in the sprint, before making aggressive set-up changes which backfired.

After Sunday’s grand prix, Mercedes revealed they will bring upgrades at the Miami Grand Prix.

But Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz has doubted whether the updates will be enough to put Mercedes back in the mix for podiums and race wins.

“We heard Toto Wolff saying ‘it’s not an okay car’. I think we knew that,” Kravitz said on ‘Ted’s Notebook’.

“Further experiments, ‘it’s not good enough’ Toto said. Lewis did further experiments, it was a step too far and the car had no front end.

“The crazy experiment that Hamilton did, changing the car after a fairly successful sprint race, into qualifying and the grand prix was to protect the rear tyres or add rear downforce.

“While he possibly did that, it meant he had no front. He could barely steer the car. There was no response at the front of the car.

“They finished exactly where the Mercedes race simulations said that they would. From the back row of the grid, Hamilton finished ninth and Russell finished sixth.

“Hamilton - easy decision to start on a soft. But it turned out to be a terrible decision. Lewis hated that tyre. He said so on the radio. He said he was making no ground, and the tyre was terrible.

“He said afterwards ‘that was a terrible tyre’ so it was clearly playing on his mind. He pitted after the Safety Car and trailed home a rather disgruntled P9.

“They do have some upgrades coming but Toto wouldn’t say how much they would be worth.

“They need to be worth a second per lap, really, which they aren’t going to be!

“But if they were, it would put Mercedes somewhere back into the mix to score podiums and race wins, which they are far from doing at the moment.”

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